We live and breath our tagline "Don't Give Up. Give Back." every day. It is our way of learning from our experiences and giving back to others so they can live better lives. We hope that you follow us on our journey and get involved. It is up to each of us to live a life of purpose and to make a difference in the lives of others.
To have hope is to never give up. It is that inner force that keeps one going when all else seems lost. Even under the most difficult of circumstances, hope empowers the spirit to forge ahead, to believe that this too will pass, that there will be a cure, that we will not lose her. The seed of hope has been planted within us.
Our daughter Olivia Hope (Livy) and her twin sister Hailey were born in December of 2004. Livy was born with a brain malformation that resulted in epilepsy, cerebral palsy and other disabilities. Livy's first seizure occurred only hours after birth. She spent the first nine months of her life at All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, Boston Children's Hospital and the Suncoast Hospice House in Largo, FL. She finally came home to us in September of 2005.
Throughout the first year of Livy's life, we were tested both physically and emotionally. That test continues to this day. Livy has undergone two major brain surgeries to try and alleviate her seizures. She has had many hospital visits due to uncontrolled seizures, broken bones and other various medical issues. She is not able to walk or talk and she is completely reliant on her family for care. What we find so amazing is that despite all she has been through, she is one of the happiest little girls we have ever seen. Her smile radiates love and she welcomes everyone she meets with a warm, glowing demeanor.
Hailey has learned more from Livy than we could ever teach her. We are constantly worried that Hailey will resent the fact that she didn't have a typical childhood filled with loud parties, long family vacations and other things kids usually do. Livy has created a new normal for our whole family. But when we ask Hailey if she misses certain activities, she says she wouldn't have it any other way. She is more empathetic and compassionate than we ever could have hoped.
Livy and Hailey were the inspiration for the creation of Livy's Hope. As Hailey tells the story, she says "I heard my mom and dad talking about how to raise money for Livy's expensive physical therapies. So I told them that I wanted to help, too." Hailey immediately started making bracelets and painting pictures that she auctioned on eBay. It seemed every day she was putting together a new creation and always said she would do anything to help Livy. It is a truly beautiful story of the love and dedication shared between sisters.
At one point, we all sat down and discussed how we could start helping other families. We had met many over the years who had helped us and we knew that it was time to start giving back. So together, we made the decision to give 100% of the profits from everything we sold at Livy's Hope to families who were going through what we experienced. Today, Livy's Hope is a socially responsible company and we believe in giving 100% of ourselves and 100% of our profits to those in need.